- Increased global footprint into eight new countries, including the introduction of RSM Canada
- International client referrals grew by 20% as global RSM brand gains strength
- Sub-Saharan Africa the strongest growing region, with increase of 13.6%
RSM, the sixth largest network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms, has delivered growth in every business line, reflecting RSM’s commitment to help middle market businesses fulfil their global ambitions. 2017 was another strong year for RSM as it saw revenues rise by 5.6% to US$5.1bn. Since 2015, the focus on building the brand has paid off as RSM is enjoying greater collaboration with increased global expansion and cross-border client work jumping up by 20% in 2017.
Commenting on 2017 and the year ahead, Jean Stephens, CEO, RSM International said:
“RSM’s long-term commitment is to be the adviser of choice to middle market businesses around the world. We are responding to changing business conditions and adapting our services to help businesses meet the challenges they face, including GDPR, Brexit, NAFTA, VAT in the Gulf region, and transparency in Africa – to name just a few.
The coming year brings with it the promise of even further disruption; from the re-drafting of international tax and data regulations to the introduction of emerging technologies, digital innovations, and the growth in the ‘gig economy’. Traditional business models are no longer going to suffice.
The rapid advance of technology also brings risk. High-profile breaches during 2017 raised global awareness of the scale and consequences of cybersecurity threats. This led to our members seeing an increased global demand from within the middle market for risk and consulting expertise to help them prepare for and combat potential disruption to their businesses.
On the other hand, in the pursuit of efficient and profitable business strategies, clients are turning to advanced technology solutions such as robotic automation and AI to gain that critical competitor advantage. Currently, these technologies are most advanced in use within the financial services sector, but we expect that they will also fundamentally change our profession and how we serve our clients in the near and longer term.
In summary, a shifting political landscape, the risk and opportunity from new technologies, and an unpredictable economic climate set the scene for 2018. Coming off the back of a very strong year, we look forward to forging ahead and helping our clients embrace this new digital and data-driven world.”
Solid international expertise
Each of RSM’s service lines grew in 2017, with tax advisory delivering strong growth at 5.7%, fuelled mainly by clients looking to navigate complex international, regional and national tax rules and regulations. Other service line highlights in 2017 include:
- Tax services grew by 4.8% and 17.0% in North America and Asia Pacific, respectively and, following a cut in the US Corporate tax rate, there are early signs that US/China tax competition will continue to drive growth into 2018.
- RSM’s consulting service line grew by 3.8%, with the strongest performance in MENA with a rise of 30.0%.
- Audit and accounting continues to be RSM’s largest service line with a total revenue of $2.5bn.
- Other services (outside of audit and accounting, tax and consulting) total US$110.0m and includes the recent introduction of significant legal services across several RSM firms, providing comprehensive, and co-ordinated services to clients across multiple disciplines.
Strong and expanding geography
RSM grew in each of its geographical regions in 2017, with the strongest regional growth coming from Sub-Saharan Africa which grew 13.6% and saw a 30.0% increase in outbound referrals, as clients look for support with international expansion and challenging external environments. Recognising this need, RSM added presence in Mozambique and Malawi in 2017. Elsewhere, RSM saw growth in:
- Fee income in North America grew by 5.5% to $3.2bn, with new protectionist measures paying dividends for US-based businesses. A thriving cyber consultancy practice helped consultancy fees grow 8.1% year-on-year. RSM Canada joined the network in December 2017, expanding RSM’s capabilities and brand in the region.
- Asia Pacific continues to grow steadily at 4.8%, despite economic challenges in some key markets. RSM India won a significant number of new clients following the implementation of a unified Goods and Services Tax, perhaps the largest single tax reform globally for decades.
- Europe and MENA delivered solid growth at 6.0% and 8.2%, respectively.
- In total RSM expanded into eight new countries in 2017 (Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Guinea, Malawi, Mozambique and Senegal).
- Mergers and acquisitions have taken place in Germany, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Republic of Ireland, and UK, augmenting client service scale and expertise in these countries.
RSM is the sixth largest network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms, encompassing over 120 countries, 813 offices and more than 43,060 people internationally. The network’s total fee income is US$5.1 billion.
As an integrated team, we share skills, insight and resources, as well as a client-centric approach that’s based on a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses. This is how we empower them to move forward with confidence and realise their full potential.